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Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World–Psalm 73

The fourth message in the series, “Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World,” given by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on July 31, 2022.

When you’re tempted to leave Christ because the world looks better, you must seek the Lord, see things from his angle, and trust him, because the Lord blesses his people.

You can download an outline of this message to follow along, here.

Pastor Greenfield’s teaching notes for this message are available here.

Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World: Job 42

The third message in the series, “Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World,” given by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on July 24, 2022.

Stop—repent of—trying to fit God into your way of thinking. Trust the Lord!

Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World–Job 1-2

The second message in the series, “Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World,” given by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on July 17, 2022.

Christians must live a faithful, Christ-like life in every circumstance, experience, and feeling in this sin-cursed world.

You can download Pastor Greenfield’s sermon notes for this message here.

Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World: Joseph

This is the first message in the series, “Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World,” given by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on July 10, 2022.

Christians must know and believe from Scripture that God providentially controls all circumstances in a sin-cursed world to fulfill his sovereign purposes. The experiences and testimony of Joseph demonstrate this (Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20).

You can download an outline of this message to follow along, here.

Pastor Greenfield’s teaching notes for this message are available here.

OBC Lord’s Day morning worship service for July 10, 2022

“G” is our gray hymnal, Hymns to the Living God
“B” is our burgundy hymnal, Hymns of Grace and Glory

Service Order:

Congregational reading of 1 Samuel 8
G61       Great is Thy Faithfulness
Opening prayer of praise and thanksgiving
G323     If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee
Pastoral Prayer
Genesis 37
B55       God Moves in a Mysterious Way (Tune: O God Our Help in Ages Past)
Message—Pastor Dan Greenfield, “Living by Faith in a Sin-Cursed World: Joseph”
B352 Like a River Glorious

John 11

This is last miracle John recorded providing needed truth so that sinners would believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Christ, the Son of God (20:20-31). John has said that Jesus is the water of life (4:14), the bread of life (6:35), the light of life (8:12), and here that Jesus as the life gives life (11:25-26).

Sickness and death are the effects and judgment of sin everyone experiences because everyone has sinned (cf. Rom 3:23; 6:23). While Lazarus—a true believer in the Lord—was going to die, God would be glorified through it (vv. 1-6). When Jesus determined to go to Judea the disciples were alarmed because of what might happen to him (vv. 7-10), but Jesus would go to raise Lazarus from the dead so that they would believe in him (vv. 11-16).

Upon arriving, Jesus encouraged Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary that whoever believes in him would not experience eternal death (vv. 25-26). Jesus’ life-giving authority over death and the grave is graphically portrayed here by his commands, “take away the stone” (v. 39) and “Lazarus, come forth!” (v. 43). Lazarus—the man dead and buried for four days—was literally raised from the dead by Jesus! Only God can raise the dead, and this miracle shows Jesus to be God.

Despite this indisputable miracle Jews who were eyewitnesses determined not only to kill Jesus but Lazarus (vv. 45-57; 12:9-11)!

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Sickness and death bring a whirlpool of emotions so Christians must rely on Jesus, the unchanging Savior and God. He not only is unaffected by sin and death, he defeated them!
  2. Jesus as the God-man experienced and expressed genuine sorrow because of his deep love for Lazarus. It is not sinful to sorrow; deep feeling is not something to be ashamed of. True sympathy is Christ-like. Being cold, stoic, and unmoved in the sight of sorrow is no sign of grace.
  3. Jesus is affected by your infirmities and troubles. Christian, in troubled times pour your heart out to him; he knows what you go through and truly cares.
  4. The peace of your soul and life after death depends on definite faith in Jesus Christ. This must be settled in your mind, grasped tightly in your heart, and relied on entirely with your will. You must believe, welcome, and submissively trust in no one and nothing less than Jesus the eternal God.
  5. Christian, when you lie down in the grave you can do so in the full assurance that you will rise again. You can thus face death with soul comfort, free from any worry or fear.

John 10

After Jesus healed the man born blind (chap. 9) the religious leaders removed the healed man from their synagogue because he believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (9:34). After Jesus told the religious leaders they were blinded to spiritual truth (9:39-41) he then told them the truths in chapter ten. Jesus contrasted himself with who they werein their “ministry,” making it very clear they were not true shepherds.

Jesus shepherds the sheep while false teachers steal them (vv. 1-6). Jesus saves the sheep while false teachers kill them (vv. 7-10). While false teachers only serve as “shepherds” for money (vv. 11-13) Jesus as the “Good Shepherd” died for the sheep, intimately knows them (vv. 14-15), and gathers them (vv. 16-18). Though some listening were open to what Jesus said, the false religious leaders responded by calling Jesus a demon-possessed crazy man (vv. 19-21).

Three months later at a feast there was another conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders (vv. 22-39). Jesus told them that they rejected him because of their sin (vv. 25-26) while believers follow Jesus because he and the Father save them (vv. 27-30). The Jews then wanted to kill Jesus, because by calling God his Father he made himself equal with God (vv. 31-33). Jesus relied on Scripture’s authority (vv. 34-36) and pointed them to his person and works (vv. 37-38), maintaining that he indeed was God in the flesh.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Beware of those who say they care about you but only care about your money!
  2. When Jesus saves sinners and brings them into his care no one can threaten or remove them. Some like to say that no one can take them out of God’s hands but they can take themselves out. This fails to recognize the figure of speech Jesus uses: “hand” represents God’s power, and God is all-powerful. For someone to say they can thwart or undo God’s power is to say they’re more powerful than God!
  3. There is no greater authority than the Word of God. Jesus relied on Scripture, you must too!

John 9

This event occurred on a Sabbath (v. 14) while Jesus was still in Jerusalem, probably shortly after the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2, 10), less than six months before his crucifixion. The apostle John describes an indisputable miracle Jesus did, healing a man who was born blind. Remember that John recorded select miracles proving that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Christ and King of Israel promised in the OT (20:30-31). This miracle—giving sight to the blind—was right in line with the promised Christ’s work (cf. Isa 35:5; 42:7).

John contrasts the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness with the healed blind man’s spiritual sight in verses 10-41. Note how the healed blind man’s understanding of who Jesus was grew: first he understood Jesus as simply “a man” (v. 11), then “a prophet” (v. 17), then one “from God,” (v. 33), and finally as the Son of God (vv. 35-38). In contrast were the Pharisees, who firmly believed Jesus was not from God (v. 16), not the Christ (v. 22), a sinner (v. 24), and not from heaven (v. 30).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus’ power to heal was because he was God in the flesh, not because mud and water somehow had healing properties. The man born blind did not attribute his healing to the mud and water but to Jesus (v. 30, “He has opened my eyes”). His sight was immediately, not gradually restored. Jesus is God, the promised Christ!
  2. As your understanding grows about who Jesus so will your faith. The more you learn about Jesus, the greater your faith will be.
  3. Jesus came to save sinners, giving spiritual sight to the spiritually blind (vv. 39-41). Eternal life must be received by faith, so if one does not believe, then he remains lost in sin and judged by Christ.

John 8

The Law of Moses condemned both parties in adultery (Lev 20:10), but the Pharisees condemned only the woman, attempting to trick Jesus so they could denounce him (vv. 1-6). Jesus, unlike these sinful men, exercised true judgment (vv. 7-11).

In verses 12-59 the apostle John relates a back-and-forth between Jesus and Jews at the treasury (v. 20, where people gave their tithes) about who he was. Each time (1) the Jews denied what Jesus said and then (2) Jesus maintained what he said, supported it, and pointed out the reason for and result of the Jews’ unbelief. As you go through the four main sections here, note truths about Jesus and aspects of unbelief—you will learn a lot!

(1) Jesus is the true witness from the Father, but unbelieving Jews deny Jesus and thus the Father, 12-19
(2) Through Jesus would be crucified he would live again and go to the Father in heaven where he came from, but the Jews were of the world and would die in their sins, 21-30
(3) Jesus is the truth who came from God and frees believing sinners, but the Jews depended on their Jewishness as Satan’s slaves of sin, 31-47
(4) Jesus is the eternal God, greater than Abraham, but unbelieving Jews denied that and thus dishonored him, 48-59

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus is equal with God and thus by nature can only and always do what God does (vv. 28-29, 38).
  2. Jesus necessarily had to speak the truth that he is God, the Savior and Lord. He could not deny this (v. 66) for that would be to deny himself (2 Tim 2:23).
  3. True faith is not merely a head knowledge, mental agreement; it is abiding, submissive, unreserved trust in Jesus (v. 31). Only that kind of faith is saving faith (v. 32), and Jesus gives life and freedom from sin to those who truly believe in him (vv. 12, 32, 52).
  4. Sinners cannot help but sin for they are the slaves of sin (v. 34), readily doing the will of their father the devil (v. 44), unable and unwilling to trust in Christ (vv. 43, 45, 47)

John 7

The events of this chapter occur six months before Jesus’ crucifixion and are characterized by increasing divisions (note v. 43). Divisions because of Christ existed even in his own family who thought it would be best for Jesus to publicize himself as much as possible in Jerusalem (vv. 3-5) which Jesus rejected and instead quietly went there (vv. 6-10).

Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Jews already had divided opinions about Jesus (vv. 11-13). Jesus declared God’s truth to them, which can only be known by faith and is proven by a God-glorifying life (vv. 14-18). Jesus then showed unbelieving Jews that the couldn’t see the truth because they didn’t want to see it (vv. 19-24).  

The differing opinions about Jesus are on full display in verses 25-36, with some denying he was the Christ (vv. 25-30), some saying he was the Redeemer (v. 31), and others viewing him as just a troublemaker to be dealt with (vv. 32-36). Jesus invited anyone to believe in him so that they would experience the life-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 37-39). John the apostle summarized the growing divisions and tensions existing between Jesus and the Jews (vv. 40-52).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Faith is necessary for right knowledge (v. 17). True faith has truth that is believed, welcomed, and submitted to. the readiness or willingness to obey God is essential to faith (the submissive aspect). Without faith one will not have right knowledge. What about you—is your “faith” just head knowledge? Nice feelings? Or is there real submissive acceptance and obedience?
  2. Everyone believes something about Jesus, but only what God declares about him in the Scriptures is correct. Judging by appearance or tradition always results in rejection of and hostility toward who Jesus really is. What controls what you believe?
  3. The Spirit’s ministry in Christians is essential (vv. 38-39). The Spirit enables believers to understand the significance of the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:14-16), baptizes (1 Cor 12:13), controls (Eph 5:18), assures (Rom 8:16), convicts (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18), intercedes (Rom 8:26), is the earnest of salvation (Eph 1:14), and his fruit evidences his control of a believer’s life (Gal 5:22-23).

John 6

Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 shows his ability to give life, to make something out of nothing. After feeding the crowd Jesus left the area because the people responded wrongly to what he did (vv. 1-15). He and the disciples then went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (vv. 16-21). The people—viewing Jesus as merely a miracle worker and wanting free food—followed him there (vv. 22-26).

Jesus reproved them for their wrong aim and assessment and taught them about faith (vv. 27-65). Sinners must “come to Christ” (note v. 35, come=believe) to have eternal life. No one of themselves can or will trust in Christ (v. 44). God the Father has chosen to save some sinners, and each of the elect will be saved by faith in Christ (vv. 37, 39). God must “draw” (cause to be born again) sinners to him, then they will believe (vv. 44-45, 63, 65). Everyone who believes has eternal life (vv. 35, 39-40, 44, 47, 51, 54, 58).

Those who were following Jesus as a mere miracle worker who would give them free food rejected what Jesus said and stopped following him (“disciples,” vv. 60-61, 66). They did not believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 was not about the Lord’s Supper. It would be another year from this time until Jesus taught the Lord’s Supper. If this did refer to Communion, that would be essential for salvation, leaving the thief on the cross out of heaven and enabling millions of godless people into heaven. Jesus taught that the Lord’s Supper was for believers to remember his death, not for sinners to gain salvation (1 Cor 11:24-25).
  2. Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 is about true saving faith. “Flesh” refers to the true Person of Christ and “blood” his anticipated sacrificial death. “Eat and drink” are figures of speech for saving faith. Read verses 40 and 54, and you’ll see how “eat…drink” is just another way of saying “see…believe,” and that all the other words are exactly the same. As one “eats and drinks” what is good, pleasing, and desirable, so one truly trusts in Christ who readily, entirely, accepts and depends on Jesus for salvation.
  3. With this said, what/who are you depending on for eternal life? If you say you “believe” in Jesus, is your belief like eating vegetables you hate or a favorite meal?

John 5

Here John the apostle relates how the Jews sought to kill Jesus, first for healing a man on the Sabbath (and thus “working,” vv. 1-16) and second for “blasphemy” by calling God his Father, thus making himself equal with God (vv. 17-18). Jesus did not deny being God! In fact, he spoke more to support that truth in verses 19-23. Jesus then teaches that as God in the flesh (“the Son of God”) he is sinner’s only hope of eternal life (vv. 24-26) and is their future judge (vv. 27-29).

Jesus does not stop talking about his equality with God the Father. Jesus does exactly as the Father directs him (v. 30). His testimony is consistent with all other testimony (v. 31), namely, John the Baptist (vv. 33-35), Jesus’ works (v. 36), and the Father himself (vv. 37-38).

Despite such truth and testimony Jesus said the Jews, despite their in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures (v. 39) they did not believe because out of their hatred of God, believing others, and disbelief in his Word they chose not to (vv. 40-47).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal God in the flesh. Despite many insisting Jesus never called himself God, Jesus’ own words in this chapter indisputably demonstrate this. Indeed, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying! (v. 18)
  2. Unbelievers are entirely responsible for their unbelief. This may seem obvious, but human tendency is to shift the blame to someone else. Jesus gets to the root issues of unbelief here: hatred of God and an unwillingness to repent and trust in Christ.
  3. The Bible says that Jesus is God. The Bible is God’s Word, what God himself said. God is perfect, so his Word, the Bible is perfect, without error. And Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of him. The problem is never with the Bible, and always with unbelievers (vv. 39, 47).
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